YONDANI BUTT was born in Macau. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry, on which subject he has published numerous research papers. He studied conducting with Wolfgang Vacano (1906–1985) at Indiana University, majoring in chemistry. He continued to study conducting with Josef Blatt (1906–1999) at the University of Michigan while pursuing his chemistry degree. Hailed by Robert Marsh of the Chicago Sun Times as “an outstanding talent”, Yondani Butt has received acclamation from critics and audiences for his many CD recordings and concert performances.
In the early 2000s, Yondani Butt suffered damage to his vocal chords, and retired from conducting. However, in 2009 he returned to the podium, working with the London Symphony Orchestra to record many of the Austro-German classics, including Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann and Wagner, as well as works by Tchaikovsky, and a disc of French Classics. Yondani Butt is also a composer. He studied free counterpoint and composition with Bernard Heiden (1910–2000). Heiden was born in Frankfurt am Main and was a student of Paul Hindemith’s. In Indiana, Yondani Butt studied piano with Sidney Foster, a protégé of Isabelle Vergarova and David Saperton at the Curtis Institute. In Michigan, he studied ensemble with Eugene Bossart (1917–2011) and piano with Karen Keys, who had been a student of Alfred Cortot.